Monday, 17 August 2015

The problem with witches

There are many reasons I don't believe in the god of Abraham. One of these reasons is the killing of "witches". This brutal fact, this product of religion,  is completely at odds with the alleged traits of this god.  In short, if there is an omniscient being (who knows all) and who truly cares for humanity, then the hideous deaths of those accused of witchcraft refutes that entity.  Let me elaborate.

The bible is very clear on what to do with witches.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live Exodus 22:18
Because witchcraft is a fictional crime, it means throughout history, countless innocents have died as a consequence of this.  Some 40-50,000 people have been killed for witchcraft in Western countries, many in quite hideous ways.  Violent attacks on witches still continue today. A UNICEF 2010 report details attacks on child-witches sic in Africa. Children with disabilities are especially targeted. Such attacks are far more common in Christian communities than Muslim.  The link is to the biblical command to kill witches. 

Now clearly, an omniscient entity would know all of this back in the "Exodus" era.  It would know that including this command would mean say, that a child with epilepsy, would be betrayed and violently attacked by the adults in his or her community. That even if they did not die, the risks they faced would inflate the likelihood of an early death.  About 20,000 streetchildren had been accused of witchcraft in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa

Knowing this, knowing that mere children would be murdered as a consequence of Exodus 22:18, this entity still allows it to be included.  So here's the question. If you knew that this edict would result in the deaths of thousands of innocents, that children would be attacked and murdered, would you include it in a text that communicated your wishes? 

This is the dilemma. If you include it, you will be responsible for the inhumane deaths of these people. If you were a benevolent and loving and deity- and your omniscience meant you could see the consequences of all your edicts- would you really include this passage?

Let's play the context game. Let's play the excuse that this is all Old Testament stuff. That there is some context here that's been overlooked. Overlooked for centuries even, as killing people for witchcraft as been a Christian tenet for most of its history.

So, as an omnipotent and benevolent being, you have the means to tell the faithful that this verse say, no longer applies (or is being applied incorrectly). You can appear as a burning bush, or a talking donkey. You can send angels as messengers. If Christianity is correct, you can even make a physical manifestation of yourself as your own, mortal son about 2000 years ago.

So about 2000 years ago, all you had to do was say something. Not do something, not change the laws of the universe. All you'd have to do is explain that Exodus 22:18 no longer applied.

If you did that, then thousands would not have died in flames in Europe.  Kids with epilepsy or autism would not be beaten, assaulted or killed.

Such a little thing.

Yet there is no record of this.

I doubt that anyone of us, with so many lives at stake, with the most vulnerable people (kids with disabilities) being the target of this, could choose not to make this clear.

You cannot claim there is an omniscient, moral and benevolent, who intercedes in this world, when the body-count of the innocents is so high. Omniscience means you must know what Exodus 22:18 leads to. Benevolence means you must do everything to prevent the consequences of that. Omnipotence gives you the power to do so. In no state of the world, does this combination explain why kids are being killed for witchcraft.


  1. I have a colleague who believes that witches were real and may still be real.

  2. I'm going to play the devils advocate now. So hear's the thing right: This article is assuming that every single one of these people are innocent, because witchcraft is a so called "fictional crime" as you stated. But according to the bible, it is not a fictional crime, and therefore the god of Abraham does not believe these people to be innocent. So killing these "witches", to you and me, they seem innocent because we don't believe in witchcraft. But if we assume the god of abraham exists, and is some form of omniscient entity, these people are in fact guilty of real crimes.

    Of course I'm not convinced that the god of Abraham does exist, but you have to see it from their point of view too.

    1. Reality says that witchcraft isn't a real thing. What caused the end of the witch-trials in the West was the spreading knowledge of this fact. It doesn't matter what the bible claims.

      These are extra-judicial murders undertaken with no standards of evidence being met. Kids die- horribly- from this